Mocky plays François Gérane, an aimless young man whose delinquent tendencies cause his father to have him committed to a psychiatric ward. There, under the cold command of Dr. Varmont, he finds himself fighting for his dignity, sanity, and freedom.
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A fairly disappointing film: works better as an exploration of the vicious circle of an angry young man's life than either a clash of medical ideals or analysis of the deterioration of the mind. Franju has an uncanny ability to depict the starkly real in a dramatic and poetic way.
A rather hesitant and half-hearted approach to mental health that ticks all the expected boxes (progressive psychology versus staid medical doctrines; attempted escapes, suicides, clues in an unhappy childhood and so on) but manages to remain at arms length throughout. The crisp photography provides a surface polish but doesn't compensates for the lack of drive.